The other day I had a bit of a ‘moment’. Actually, it was more of an internal tantrum, where all I really wanted to do was stamp my feet, throw myself on the ground and whine loudly about things ‘not being fair’. I didn’t by the way, but gee I felt like it! Do you ever have those moments, where sometimes you just want to sit and sulk in your own drama for a while?

This moment that I’m referring to happened at about 8am a few Saturday’s ago in the pouring rain in the middle of the Harbour Bridge. For the last 18 weeks, I’ve been training for a marathon. It’s included early mornings, saying no to social functions to train, regular Physio appointments and massages, lots of supplements and a persistent love-hate relationship with my foam roller (if you’ve got one, you’ll understand!)

About 6 weeks ago, I sustained a knee injury that despite all the tricks in the book was refusing to co-operate. Still determined to be able to run this race, I swapped running for swimming and cycling to maintain my fitness and in a last ditch effort, even resorted to prescription anti-inflammatories (in consultation with my doctor) to help things along.

Last Saturday was the final test – to see if I could survive an easy 16kms in preparation for the marathon. Long story short, I couldn’t. I lasted about 5 minutes before the pain quickly escalated and I had no choice other than to stop. Devastated doesn’t even begin to touch the sides of how I was feeling and as I hobbled back across the bridge, the wind picked up, the rain fell harder and all I wanted to do was flop into a heap. How could this be happening – I’ve done pretty much everything right? Why won’t my body just cooperate and let me run?

After a few tears, some wise words from my coach, running buddies and family (and then a few more tears), I started reflecting on the ‘little moment’ that I had experienced and it got me thinking – do we sometimes get so caught up in ‘seeing something through’ that we fail to notice when it’s time for us to walk away? Not necessarily forever, but maybe just in the short term?

One of the things that I pride myself on is my determination to chip away at things taking them from start to finish. I’ve relied on this aspect of my personality to get me through many things in my life and most of the time, it works for me.

The not-so-great side of this is that sometimes, I find it really difficult to know when it’s time to walk away. Even if I’m in the middle of reading a really terrible book or watching a ridiculous movie, I have to finish it (partly to just ‘know’ what happens, but mostly because if I start something, I have to finish it).

Somewhere in my mind and the experiences that I have endured, I think I’d gotten the ‘knowing when to walk away’ mixed up with thinking that I was ‘quitting or giving up’.

The more I though about this, the more I saw other examples of it. People who stay in unhappy or unfulfilling relationships because they have already invested so much; those who keep getting up and going to a job they hate because they feel they owe so much of their success to their company; putting up with people’s bad behavior because you’ve got to be the bigger person.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some instances where you do just need to ‘suck it up’ and get on with things, but I also think there comes a point where we need to learn that it’s ok for us to walk away. This is by no means a sign of weakness; if anything it’s more of a sign of strength because sometimes walking away is one of the most challenging things that you will ever have to do.

It’s not to say that the thing you are leaving behind can never be in your life ever again – there is no way I would be ok with no running! And I’ll still do a marathon, but at this moment in my life, it’s just not going to happen. As devastated as I was, there is a sense of calm in my mind at the time of making this choice because deep in my heart, I knew that it was the right one to make this time.

So I invite you to have a think about what’s going on in your life at the moment. Where is your time being spent? Who are you spending your time on? Are you staying or doing things just because you’re trying to see something through, rather than choosing to stay because it is contributing something meaningful and fulfilling to your life? Again, there is a fine line between walking away because it’s easier than to stay and work through something and if you’re unsure, ask your heart. It tends to know what your head hasn’t had time to figure out yet.